A Return to Cooking

ISBN 10: 1579651879 / ISBN 13: 9781579651879
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Synopsis: The greatest work by one of the world's most renowned chefs—returns in paperback.

Spontaneous meals at home with friends form the foundation of this dazzling collection of recipes that are easy enough for novices yet so inspired they could be restaurant-worthy. The result of a rare sabbatical from this famed chef's 4-star kitchen, A Return to Cooking is "an unprecedented look at the creative process of one of the world’s best chefs" (Anthony Bourdain) as Eric Ripert prepares simple meals for friends in different locations, using ingredients at hand.

Expect to be enchanted by Eric's lack of pretense and his irrepressible joie—a chef who likes American mayonnaise and alphabet pasta, but can also lecture on subjects as diverse as the power of vinaigrette and the merits of Tabasco, shallots, and coconut milk. And every bit as fascinating is the bird's-eye view of the magic that occurs when decades of cooking experience coalesce with the forces of a chef's intuition.

Review: Eric Ripert, chef and part owner of New York's Le Bernadin, discovered that as his chef star rose he drifted far, far away from cooking. A Return to Cooking is his response to this sorry predicament, the result of a self-imposed challenge: to gather together disparate souls--a painter (Valentino Cortazar), a writer (Michael Ruhlman, author of The Making of a Chef and The Soul of a Chef), photographers (Shimon and Tammar Rothstein), and a personal assistant (Andrea Glick, who would write and test the spontaneously created recipes)--and simply cook.

The settings (and fresh food ingredients) are spectacular. Sag Harbor in summer. Puerto Rico in winter. California's Napa Valley in spring. Vermont in fall. Rent a house, shop for food, and make the meals happen. For anyone who has ever wanted to understand how a great cook looks at ingredients and settles on a plan, A Return to Cooking is it. In Puerto Rico the reader is treated to Caramelized Pineapple Crepes with Crème Frâiche; Shrimp with Fresh Coconut Milk, Calabaza, and Avocado; and Seared Tuna with Escabeche of Pear Tomatoes.

What Ripert does with food, the Rothsteins do with photos, Cortazar does with paints, and Ruhlman does with words. The stimulating recipes rise out of a young lifetime of experience. This is a big, lush book (330 pages, 150 recipes, nearly 400 color photos and illustrations) dense with information, technique, and flavor. For anyone who has wandered far from the kitchen and the pleasures inherent in cooking, A Return to Cooking will bring you right back home. --Schuyler Ingle

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Title: A Return to Cooking
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Eric Ripert, Michael Ruhlman
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